• The Met
  • The Art Renewal Center
  • William Bouguereau

  • My Favorite Art
  • Jeune Fille se Defendant Contre L'amour
    by William Bouguereau

  • Le_ravissement de Psyche
    by William Bouguereau

  • Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
    by William Bouguereau
My Photo
Location: Liverpool, NY

"In my house, I'm a big deal. That's all that matters."


About The Ultra Rev


Free Hit Counters

Powered by Blogger

Monday, January 30, 2006

Freedom Village Home

Tomorrow I am transporting a teen to Freedom Village, a home for trouble teens. Her life is messy. I am hoping this brings her some hope. Your prayers would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jamestown, NY

I am currently in Jamestown, NY, the city of my beloved friend, esteemed colleague and notorious blogger BJB of NakedReligion.

It's snowing. The inch+ an hour kinda snow with the wind whipping it all around. I walked from my hotel to a coffeeshop and my wool trenchcoat was completely coated with snow and as my eyes watered the tears froze on my face. Seems like home.

I'm staying in a great BestWestern. For $65 a night I get in room high speed access, cable, indoor pool, workout room, continental breakfast, refridgerator and a very nice facility. I'm very pleased.

I don't have a good mobile computing setup yet. My good laptop, a Powerbook Wallstreet edition, I partially backed over with the car a couple years ago. It still works albeit I have to hook it up to a monitor because the screen is cracked. My other laptops a Powerbook 100 and a Powerbook Duo 270C are too old. They don't have ethernet or USB and now are just toys.

So I resorted to grabbing one of my old iMac's — an original Rev A 233mhz with 64 mb of RAM, a 4 gb HD and OS 9.2.1. I have Explorer 5.0 and Netscape Communicator, each of which freeze up when you go to certain sites and can't read articles with certain coding. Oi. So perhaps I can blog.

Chambers of Commerce

When I go to cities on business, one of the things I have to do is go to the Chamber of Commerce to get a phone book and other pertinent information. I never understand why CoC's don't put the perkiest, smiliest, friendliest, cutest professional person in their city as the office receptionst. You know the type. You can hear them smiling on the phone. They crave human contact and are so very glad you called or stopped in. They're the kind that should be church receptionists but that's for another blog.

My routine experience is that you walk in to talk to the person and they have this dour look on their face and tone of voice that says, "What the hell do you want and why are you interrupting my very important work?" I even use my warmest, most flirtatious, disarming smile — which if you've seen me isn't really that pretty but it generally works — but it gets no where with CoC receptionists.

Beyond their lack of warmth, they generally lack relevant information and seem to think of themselves as a tourist bureau. I get a free phone book. That's it. In recent times I've asked ...

"Do you have a list of area churches?" One office gave me a list that was typed in that old Courier typewriter font, from the 1980's and would have been a poor list even at that time. Another gave me a bad copy of an old list that was printed in their newspaper. Another didn't have one. Today I got, "It's all there in the phone book."

"Do you have a list of media outlets?" All of them look at me queerly and ask mean what I mean — all of them. Is that a difficult strange question? One office gave me a several year old list with addresses and phone numbers — no fax, no email, no contact name. None had an exhaustive list. None had any internet resources. None had a clue where to get a good list. Today I got, "It's all there in the phone book."

"Do you have a Book of Lists or Business Journal?" One office gave me one from the mid 1990's. Another didn't have one. Today I didn't bother ask. I knew the answer.

If this all isn't bad enough, what about their locations. Today's was in a good visible place downtown but they didn't think it necessary to shovel their parking lot or walk. Another city had a nice office on the outskirts of town. Another had their's on the upper floor of a dirty old bank building with many surveilance cameras and signs warning you that you're being watched as you entered into the first floor with this eery desolate feel. It had absolutely nothing on the outside of the building that would have let you known it was in there. I got the street address from the phone book and drove up and down this little dead end street with a strip club on one side and a mafia run "cafe" on the other and couldn't figure out where it was until I called somebody I knew in the town. Another city had theirs in a nice place with a small sign out front, an unclear entrance and it was unclear where to go once you entered the door that might have been the right one.

All that to say, my experience with several upstate NY CoC's is that they are mostly useless and they feel that the most important thing they do is put out stacks of tourist brochures. But instead of just pissing and moaning about it I'll try to bless them and give them my church and media list after I create them, and I might even give it to them on CD so they could possibly manipulate the data for a mailing list or to be updated. What a novel idea.

VirtueOnline-News - AMiA Leader Announces Bold Approach to reach 130 million unchurched Americans

These AMiA people rock! Zero to 87 churches almost six years and are gearing up to start a new church every six weeks.

These are not your generic, vanilla flavored non-denominational churches where the service lacks anything distinctive. They are prayer book centered with episcopal polity churches that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. ECUSA ought to stop complaining about them and learn from them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Only 17% of America attends church on any given Sunday. Dave Olson has written an excellent piece on American church attendance for The Covenant Companion. You can download that article here as a PDF.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Aerobie® AeroPress(TM) Coffee & Espresso Maker

Here's a new coffee gadget for those in pursuit of a great cup of coffee. It's single serve and made by the same guy who one-upped frisbee.

Gizmag.com Review

Single Serve Coffee.com Review

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Coppola cans the cork for his bubbly Sofia Mini

The first thing I thought when I read this article was "What next? Caviar and fillet mignon sold in Lunchables?"

Interesting cultural trends: Francis Ford Coppola has a vision for champagne to go mainstream. So he puts it in bright fuschia colored cans with a straw taped to the side like a drink box and sells it in a 4-pack.

Champagne has often been a metaphor or symbol. Champagne is consumed at celebrations. We don't drink champagne at funerals. It is not your daily dinner wine. We drink it at weddings for a toast. We drink it in the locker room after we have won the World Series or Super Bowl. When you get that big promotion at work, you break out the bubbly. You don't drink it at your 7th anniversary but you might at your 25th or 50th.

Champagne has been the beverage of the wealthy. Historically it is an expensive wine in elegant looking bottles with calligraphy with gold leafing and a gold wrapper over the cork. Champagne is consumed in elegant stemware.

Generally what do we think comes in a can? Beer or Soda. Cheap stuff. Although Guinness and Red Bull are not cheap, but you get the point. Even more so, what comes in boxes and is drunk with a straw? Kids drinks.

This really is a bold marketing idea and says something about Coppola's understanding of the culture. I wonder if there is application to the church. People understand metaphors differently and no longer accept long held commonly accepted icons. Times are changing. How will the church incarnate the gospel in new ways for new people with new ideas?

Star-Gazette.COM - Local News

Here are a couple quotes from this article:

"The impending sale of a United Methodist church in Elmira, NY reflects a declining membership in mainline churches as society becomes increasingly more secular, church leaders say."
"'Part of what I think has happened in America is we've gotten very comfortable with all that we have, and we assume that money can buy anything that we want,' Preisinger said.

'Sometimes folks forget a need for God, and God becomes almost a hobby or something you do on the side.'

'It's not a question necessarily of people going to other denominations or other churches,' he said. 'It's a question of the secularization of the United States and the diminished interest in church.'

Copyright © 2006 Star-Gazette."

DISCLAIMER: Not all mainline churches are the same. Yes, I know I am painting with too broad a brush.

This article is just dead wrong. People have not forgotten a need for God. They know they have need. The problem isn't the secularization of society but the secularization of MAINLINE CHURCHES! In general, people don't need what your typical liberal mainline church is offering. They don't offer a gospel of good news.

The gospel of inclusion spouted by some mainline churches doesn't really have any good news. It essentially says God loves you and you're OK. The biblical gospel is one of transformation. Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins of all humanity and through faith in Jesus Christ and becoming part of his body, the church, God can change your life to be more like Him.

Most people can see at least some of the significant internal and external issues of their life. They know they need help. The gospel of inclusion doesn't offer them help because it tells them nothing is wrong.

Beyond not needing the gospel of inclusion offered by mainline churches, the culture they offer is needed even less. Many of these small village and town mainline churches are embroiled decades old all consuming conflict where it's a battle of wills to get their way. They fight ... to keep their building and property, or their organ, or their pews, or to keep the multimedia equipment out, or just about anything they can fight about. They fight to keep decades old ineffective programs. They fight about stuff that no one but them cares about. No one is going to join them in their cause.

No one needs their dysfunction. No one needs their gospel. No one needs their god who seems more like an impotent old grandpa than a deity.

Charismatic and evangelical churches are growing worldwide at an extraordinary rate — even in mainline denominations. Why? In part, the god of their gospel still reaches into the world performing signs and wonders and still healing people. He can do something about their problems. He answers prayer. He offers hope, the promise of being a new creation, forgiveness from sins and freedom from guilt. That's Jesus Christ — the God I know and love, who has risen from the dead and conquereded sin and death.

Despite all their dysfunction and heresy, I love those churches and their people. I love dreaming and scheming and working to make them grow. I love hanging out with them at their church dinners and yard sales. And I admire their tenacity.

Hooters Calendar

Click here to see the latest Hooters calendar. It's a lot cleaner than the nude German youth group fund raising calendar of a couple of months back. You'll like this one a lot better.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cribcandy - a thumbnail bookmark blog with the best stuff for your home

Cribcandy. Fun for your home decor. It's like a cross between Ikea and an art museum.

NY Times: Preaching a Gospel of Wealth in a Glittery Market

I wonder who Creflo Dollar tithes to. Himself?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Blogger: 404 - Page not found

Xorpus has gone defunct.

Covenant News: Seminary Names New Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of CG&E

"Dr. Soong-Chan Rah has been named the Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary, it was announced today."

How very exciting! What a great trend that is happening in the Covenant Church with non-caucasian persons are being appointed to strategic evangelism positions. While Dr. Rah is in the seminary, he becomes a leader in the Covenant Church along with CG&E Office staff Ed Delgado, Director of Prayer and Evangelism and Don Davenport, Associate Director of Church Planting and Congregational Development.

These key appointments position the Covenant to minister cross culturally in a growing ethnically diverse society. I'm really excited about this. I also like how none of this feels like quota filling but just that God is really blessing us with great leaders. I've been part of other organizations where they seem to hire the token female or person of color. We intentionally want to see the leadership of our church more accurately reflect the ethnicity of the kingdom of God and I find it so encouraging that God is answering our prayers to make that happen. One of the strengths of our denomination is that we have great leaders who find more great leaders to work with them.

BREITBART.COM - Ohio High School Porn Homework Canceled

This is probably the first homework assignment in the history of the school that would have had 100% participation but it was canceled. I'm sure many students were disappointed.

Seriously, what was this guy thinking. It just goes to show how porn has gone mainstream. It's talked about every where. I'll bet I have said or read or heard just the word "porn" or "pornography" more in the past year of my life than in the first 37 years of my life all together.

I'm not sure the church overall has a clue how to deal with this being a popular topic in our culture. Certainly a handful of churches or ministries are dealing with it but in the communities I live, work and travel in there is no blatantly Christian well publicized place to get help dealing with your porn addiction or the addiction of someone in your life. Even I as a clergy member don't have the foggiest idea where people go for help about this in my community. Are we just thinking, "Well, there's no big demand for help. It's probably not that big of a problem here."? If we think that just because we don't know someone in our family or church who has a porn problem that it doesn't exist or only minorly so, we're fooling ourselves.

On the Tracks - the writings of Rick Lindholtz

My man Rick Lindholtz is one of the most encouraging people on the globe. He's one of these people that I just think about him and I start smiling. Every now and again I reread about Miles' Day or what it's like to be 7 and have type 1 juvenile onset diabetes. And I reread the one about his day from when he was younger. Miles is Rick's son. Thank God that kid has great parents and a terrific big sister.

Go to Miles For Miles. Learn more. Pray for a cure.

Sometimes I wonder why the evangelical community doesn't seem to be real interested in fund raising for research for diabetes, cancer, or other illness. We'd rather build large expensive buildings where the majority of the facility is only used about 30 of 168 hours a week.

I remember some years back having a conversation with a creative evangelistically thinking lay person. She suggested that a denomination like the Covenant Church ought to take up the cause of cancer and become known as the church that ministers to cancer victims and survivors and becomes the #1 fundraiser for cancer research. Let that be our reputation to the world and the tool by which we do evangelism ... sort of a servant evangelism approach. There's some merit to exploring that idea.


Hey, remember Bendy Girl I posted a couple weeks ago. Well Bendy Girl has met her match with Robot Boy. These two should mate.

TBS Department of Humor Analysis

Think you're funny? Click here and take the TBS survey. Do it just to hit the guy in his underwear with the high speed red ball.

Friday, January 13, 2006

ginkworld; inside the mind of punk monkey: alternative worship

A quote from ginkblog:
"it seems to me that 'we in the emerging' have become what we have said we did not desire to be - we sold out, we became what we saw was so 'wrong' with the modern church. we sell our 'programs' and 'canned' worship services to others to 'help them become like us.' we put our crap on line so others can buy it form us, we charge outrageous fees for speaking, we hawk books and seek better book deals, we talk different but the words mean the same thing, we created 'you pick the number' ways of being an 'emerging church' and think we have defined what it means - we have not truly become anything different, we have not 'emerged' and we are not 'emerging' - we are a clone of the modern church except a bit younger. sure, we use cooler music, and have cooler clothes, and cut our hair much cooler - but cooler is not what i want to be, nor is it what we need to be."

file-swap.com is fun: Give one file - get one free!


MacDailyNews: Apple now worth more than Dell

I'm going to write in Steve Jobs for president next time around.

By the way, did I mention I own www.stevejobs.be? Maybe I'll sell it on eBay.


Taking the gloves off Bishop Malango comes out fighting.


Here is a snippet from the article with a quote by AMiA Bishop Chuck Murphy:
"Murphy said when the AMiA started five and a half years ago there were 11 churches. 'Within a year we had 38 congregations. In 2002 we had 52 congregations, in 2003, some 58 congregations and in 2004, 70 congregations. By 2006 we had 87 congregations. These are not house churches these are congregations.' Murphy said there were now nine affiliated Canadian churches that are also part of team under the Province of Rwanda. He said 11 other congregations were in the pipeline.' Murphy said the AMiA adds one new congregation every three weeks."
Sure some of their new churches are disaffected Episcopalians but most are not. They are planting new churches and growing like crazy. For years people in the seeker church movement said people don't understand or like all the ritual, liturgy and symbolism of the high church. Those days are over. The truth is people don't like it done rote. They like it when the church is full of the Holy Spirit and the liturgy is done with excellence, passion and heartfelt joy. There is a whole generation coming that connects with a Spirit filled Anglican way of worship.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Charity Group. Helping charities help others.

¡Show me the money! I saw this group listed at the Luis Palau site. As I understand it, here is how it works:
  • You choose an item to donate and log in through their web site to enter it into their system and identify which non-profit you would like to support.
  • Assuming the item meets their criteria, they send the appropriate shipping containers for you to pack it in and shipping company to pick it up. It costs you nothing.
  • After they receive the item and it is inventoried you are issued a tax deductible receipt.
  • They then sell the item, take a percentage of the sale and give the remaining proceeds to the non-profit you identified.
Sounds almost too easy.

Crusade Director

That's my official title: Crusade Director. I am now officially a full-time evangelistic Crusade Director. It's probably one of the rarest jobs in the country. I'll bet there aren't 100 Directors in the US.

I'll go on record (again) that I don't like the word "Crusade" but it's not my call and I promised not to whine about it.

I work for an organization who does ministry like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Have you ever seen or participated in a Billy Graham Crusade or Luis Palau Festival? Those events take 9-12 months of preparation and several months of follow-up. I do that.

I network with pastors and community leaders in certain cities to ascertain readiness to hold an evangelistic event. When ready I work alongside local people to recruit a leadership team, establish a local event office & hire staff, plan a schedule of preparation events and see them through completion, develop a financial support base, assist with choosing venue and guest artists, plan the actual event, be heavily involved in promoting all aspects of a crusade and making sure people who indicate a decision for Christ are followed up afterward. For most events this requires overseeing thousands of volunteers and monitoring budgets of a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Ideally, when the event is over and our organization has moved on to another city, if I do my job well, a city will feel really excited about what has been accomplished for the Kingdom of God and never remember me. Although I am ultimately responsible for every detail, the event is owned by local people and all the work is done by them. I'm just shepherding them in the right direction.

Today I was networking in Kingston, ON. What a beautiful city! I need to go back there just to hang out. It doesn't seem anything is going to happen there right away but there is huge potential.

Redwood Covenant Church

Now here is something that looks fascinating. At Redwood Covenant Church they have a "post-contemporary loudly-contemplative worship experience". Sounds like a mix of Rob Bell, Henri Nouwen and David Crowder Band. I'd visit if it wasn't 3000 miles away. Maybe I can get a ride on the youth pastor's family lear jet.

New Morning - a new day in morning television

Does anybody out there ever watch a show on the Hallmark channel called New Morning? I only have extremely basic cable and have never seen it. The girlfriend of one of my good friends produces it. What do you know?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Last week I was in Utica, NY, Washington, DC, Harrisonburg, VA and Syracuse, NY. This week I'm in Rochester, NY, Kingston, ON and Utica, NY. Later this month I'll hit up Jamestown, NY also.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

iPod Fund Update

So far The UltraRev's iPod Fund (see right hand column) has brought in $1. And since the time of it's creation last month I have had three close friends receive iPods as gifts. I should let you know that if you wish to give me an actual iPod instead of giving cash to my iPod Fund that I will accept it with great joy. Thank you.

Apple Moves Quickly to Use Intel Chips - New York Times

Excitement in Cupertino. I still can't figure out how Apple can brag for years on end about how their Motorola chips are superior to Intel chips and then go and switch to using Intel chips. I still don't get it.

I'd love to hear some comments from D. Fergy about his time at MacWorld. His church paid his way. So much for helping the poor. (Yes, I am jealous)

Fergy and I have watched Apple stock (APPL) for years. We've seen it drop into the $10-12 range on a couple of occasions and always threatened to buy it but never do. I once figured out that if I would have taken out a student loan for $1000 when I was in seminary and bought Apple stock, I could have made over $30k within two years. Since that time it has split a couple times and my guess is I could have made over $300k. Instead, I still work for a living.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Reconciling religion and relevance

This is the lead story in the TimesUnion from Albany, NY, describing several unconventional churches in their area. They use a lot of multimedia, are innovative, talk about contemporary topics with contemporary music and meet in non-traditional spaces. These ain't your grandmother's churches.


From Pastor Leon, who I met this week (and this is a paraphrase): "We're spending too much time trying to convince people to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior. No. He is Lord and the Savior. The question we need to be asking is when will you acknowledge Him and give Him his rightful place in your life."

For some that might be a matter of semantics or some might say they're saying the same thing. Maybe. But I liked Leon's point. He is Lord and Savior — of every single person on the globe, whether they acknowledge Him or not. He is.

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."

One of my favorite quotes from St Cyprian

St. Cyprian : "He cannot have God for his father, who has not the Church for his mother" (De Unit., c. vi).

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Cafe Kubal Coffee Roasters

Had coffee today with Matt & his beloved Rachel. They are just home from Guatemala where they visited her parents. This link takes you to his new blog.

Fascinating to hear of their adventures in Central America. From Matt's perspective the "fair trade" coffee system isn't all that it's cracked up to be. In fact it seems like it actually punishes some poor farmers in certain instances. I hope he blogs some more about that. I got an education from him today.

Rachel says from NYC a direct flight is about 5 hours. Not bad. Kayak.com says there are no direct flights, but if we flew next month on Feb 3 and came back on Feb 10 with one lay over, we can get a ticket for $564. Let's go. Who's with me? If you're buying I'm in.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

15 Years

15 years ago today, my wife and I were married at Redeemer Covenant Church in Liverpool, NY by Pastor Bill Anthes. I thank God for so many couples who lived out strong marriages and mentored us in many ways ... The Anthes, Baehrs, Shorts, LaCourses, Janes, Gabriels, Franks, Hartmans, Godards, Sagers and so many others. I find it amazing that 15 years later I still think of those people as role models and some of the finest Christian people I have ever known. I still hope to grow up and be like them.

It hasn't been 15 years of marital bliss. There have been some very dark times. But God's grace has carried us. We have also had some very joyous times: learning to live through times of poverty & seeing miracles of God's provision, having 4 incredible children, being a ministry family, seeing friends and family come to Christ, owning our first home, tithing and having good friends like Misses Linda, Lynnette, Kay, Carol, Evelyn, Dahls, Mr. Robb, The Cuckoo Guy aka Jimmy Lee, The Kooys, Johnsruds, Fergusons, Littlefields, Kulbagos, Avistes, Turners, Humphries, Coburns, Carlsons, SangTang, the a5 Band, and so many more. Our families, epsecially my mom, dad and gramma have given us more than we could have ever imagined.

We appear to be headed for another 50 years together. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Welcome to JobJolts: A Job Service for Nursing Graduates

Kathy Lumpkins is the President & CEO of JobJolts, and the lovely wife of my terrific colleague Peter Lumpkins, who directs evangelism events with me. They live in Atlanta and have 3 grown children.

If you know anybody who is about to graduate or is a recent nursing graduate give them a great gift: Kathy's book Pinning Today, Paychecks Tomorrow: 129 Tips For New Grad Nurses. Cost: $5.00 (or less when it's bought in bulk).

Kathy is also a sought after speaker, having lectured at Emory University in Atlanta and elsewhere.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ball of Paint: The Story Behind It.

News of the weird. Imagine ... in 1977 you start with a baseball. You paint it. Nearly every day you paint it. Your wife paints it while you are at work. The ball grows. It grows to 1700 pounds. It gets over 15,000 coats of paint.

Some day you will die. And you'll be remembered for making a huge paint ball.

It reminds me of that story. I think it first came from Steven Covey. It's about the guy attempting to get from one village to another in a very dense jungle. He doesn't really have a plan or a map. He does have a machete and he starts hacking his way through the jungle.

After going on for several days and not coming to the village he had hoped, he stops. He finds a tall tree. He climbs to the top with his binoculars and scans over the tree tops. He sees the village he is supposed to go to. And he finds he's been hacking through the jungle in the wrong direction.

A firm resolve and vigorous work — all for naught.